I did a post on my own site recently in response to the negativism that is proliferating around the internet regarding the effect of blogs for business purposes. Though it is not my practice to do so routinely, I’m reprinting the post here because I want to make sure people understand blogs do provide substantive benefit, and that they are not merely the next internet bubble waiting to burst.
The naysayers are at it again. USA Today tech columnist Kevin Maney joins the chorus of those who want to rain on the blog parade. He says, “These days, the hype about blogs is off the charts. And you know what that usually means: Run for cover, because a a bubble is going to burst and make a big mess.”
It’s true, there is a great deal of hype about blogs these days. I don’t think it’s without merit though. For example, Maney quotes Guy Kawasaki who said, “Blogging is to the 2000s what Web sites were to the 1990s and desktop publishing was to the 1980s.”
Face it. That’s pretty significant, don’t you think?
Let’s get beyond the hype for a few minutes and talk realistically about the true benefits blogs can provide a business. I’ve gone through the litany before, but in light of the present negativism, it’s worth mentioning again.
- Search Engine Marketing – Blogs give you an increased presence on major search engines like Google and Yahoo
- Direct Communications – Blogs provide a way for you to speak directly and honestly with your customer
- Brand Building – Blogs serve as another channel to put your brand in front of the customer
- Competitive Differentiation – Because blogs give you the opportunity to tell your story over and over, they help set you apart from the competition
- Relational Marketing – Blogs allow you to build personal, long-lasting relationships with your customer that foster trust
- Exploit the Niches – Blogs help you fill your particular industry niche
- Media & Public Relations – Blogs are excellent PR tools. The media calls you, not your competition
- Reputation Management – Blogs enable you to manage your online reputation
- Position You as Expert – Blogs enable you to articulate your viewpoints, knowledge, and expertise on matters pertaining to your industry.
- Intranet & Project Managment – Blogs make great, easy-to-use applications for internal communications within an organization. This may be one of the least well-known and underutilized areas of blogs.
I don’t think Maney’s goal is to dismiss blogs out-of-hand as merely a fad. Toward the end of the article, he draws some pretty wise conclusions. He says…
“…in the past, each technology has also gone through a cycle of superhype, followed by a hype-o-glycemic crash. After that, the technology reaches equilibrium and steadily evolves into a crucial piece of the global fabric.”
“More likely, a few years from now, after the blog bubble has normalized, we’ll look back and say that this technology made a difference and that our total fascination with it seems quaint.”
Blogs are not the Second Coming, but they do deserve a place of significance in the grand scheme of all things internet, both technological and social. I have to go back to the Cluetrain theme, “Markets are conversations.” Blogs help foster the conversation and create connections where they did not previosly exist. That’s not hype. That’s just fact.